Stretching A Whole Chicken for 4+ Meals

Every year our family purchases 12 lovely pastured chickens from a local farm. Chickens that have enjoyed the great outdoors to their hearts content makes the most nutritious bird. Only 12 chickens? Yes, I use one chicken each month and make it stretch for at least four or more meals for our family of four. It is a great frugal way to get the most value and nutrition by purchasing them whole. You get all bones which make fabulous broth! Here I am today to share our method of preparing multiple meals from one chicken at one time.

Roasted Chicken

The first step is to thaw the whole chicken and prepare it into a scrumptious roast while a batch of mashed potatoes, gravy, and a side salad!

Ingredients:

1 large chicken (4-6 pounds)
2 Tablespoons softened butter or coconut oil
2 Tablespoons melted butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon parsley, oregano, or basil (or combination)
sea salt and pepper
Rosemary

Directions:

1. Wash and pat dry the exterior and interior of your chicken. Remove any giblets that may be in the cavity and set aside for your broth.

2. Combine the 2 Tablespoon butter with garlic and parsley/oregano/basil seasonings. Carefully peel back the skin at the back of the neck and rub the butter seasoning mix all around the meat, between the skin and meat. This will give the meat a wonderful moist texture. You can skip this step if you are in a hurry and the meat will still be fabulous with just the outside oil and seasoning!

3. Place chicken in a roasting pan, dutch/french oven, or any oven safe pan you may have. Preferably the more fitted the container the better for keeping all the juices together. Place the chicken breast side down into the pan.

4. Cover chicken with half the melted butter/oil and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary as desired.

5. Place uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

6. After 1 hour, rotate the chicken and sprinkle on the remaining butter/oil and season as desired and return to oven for an additional 1 hour.

7. Chicken is done when the legs pull away from the body of the chicken and if you cut in between the leg and body and the juice runs clear.

8. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

We slice up this chicken and serve with this yummy gravy:

Chicken drippings
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk together till smooth and thickened. Season to taste.

We don’t eat a lot of meat at any given meal, but make it stretch further by eating more vegetables. As you can see in the photo, I serve the roast chicken over mashed potatoes with a side of broccoli and squash. This really helps to get the most amount of meals from one chicken.

After we have this fabulous chicken for dinner, I place the entirety of the remaining chicken in the fridge overnight. In the morning I prepare the following two dishes at once, because it saves time and energy. Sometime the next day, de-bone the chicken and remove all the chicken meat and place in a separate bowl. Set aside two cups of meat for Chicken & Dumplings, and two cups of meat for Chicken Curry or another dish of your choice. These can be placed in a half gallon jar in the fridge till ready for use. Any additional meat is used for chicken sandwiches to send with hubby for lunches.

Chicken Stock

Bones from 1 whole chicken
Gizzards or feet (optional)
1/2 cup white vinegar
12-16 cups filtered water
1/2 onion, chopped in half
2-4 carrot peelings
2 celery sticks and tops
1 bunch parsley (or 1 Tablespoon or so dried parsley)

Homemade chicken stock is full of healing properties.

1. Place all the bones in a large stock pot. Leave a small portion of the chicken on the bone if you desire to make a chicken soup. Add the reserved giblets, chicken feet, or any additional bones you may have reserved.

2. Fill the pot with approximately 12-16 cups of filtered water.

3. Add white vinegar and allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes. Vinegar is necessary to draw out the minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth. During this time, you want to prepare your vegetable additions.

4. You can use any older looking vegetables, carrot peels, onion peels, celery tops, potato peels, etc. I love making stock because nothing goes to waste! Many times I will store a bag of peelings in the freezer from other dishes that can be thrown in for the stock.  I will actually peel my ingredients for my next recipe, a double batch of Chicken & Dumplings, and use the peelings for my stock. I use approximately 4 carrot peelings, 1/2 onion (cut into wedges), 2 celery tops and 1 celery stalk cut in half, and 2 potato peelings. There is no need for perfection here. I use what I have on hand and it all goes in. ;)

5. After adding the vegetables, bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 12-24 hours.

6. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add 1 bunch of parsley.

7. After it has cooked, cool completely. Then drain the broth from the vegetables and bones. I will discard the vegetables and remove any additional meat on the bones for a chicken soup or other purpose before discarding the bones. I will freeze half of the stock by placing in a large gallon size freezer bag. This will be used for soup for another meal.

The remaining stock I will use for soup within the week – Garden Chowder or Zuppa Tuscana are regular delicious soups at our house!

Chicken & Dumplings

In the picture above, you see all the chopped veggies that I prepare for my Chicken & Dumplings dish. I have just peeled them all for my stock and use the remaining vegetable chopped nicely for this dish. I use the reserved two cups of chopped chicken for this recipe. I can then prepare this right away or cover and place in fridge for the evening meal. I can easily make a double batch of Chicken & Dumplings in two separate 8 x 8 pans and freeze one for another busy day.

Chicken Curry

With the additional 2 cups of reserved chopped chicken meat, I will often make Chicken Curry - another delicious and nutritious meal. Another favorite would be Chicken Enchiladas that could also be made with this meat.

Finally, any remaining meat makes some fabulous lunches for my husband throughout the week. Roasted chicken sandwiches with mayo, dijon mustard, cheese, pickles, lettuce and any other toppings make a full satisfying sandwich!

So my whole chicken has made 1 roast, 1 batch of chicken stock (enough for at least 2 soups), 2 main dishes, and enough for a few additional chicken sandwiches for lunch! I would say we used everything possible on that chicken!

How do you use your chicken?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

93 Responses to Stretching A Whole Chicken for 4+ Meals

  1. Nola October 29, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    I’ve always used apple cider vinegar. I thought I’d read that over at Keeper of the Home…off to check. I’ve only ever used 1 capfull. Does your broth taste vinegary? Does your broth gell?

    I’ve always done mine in the crockpot but now I am going to rethink that one as per the comment with the possible issues. I do know our water has no lead though so maybe that does have to do with it somewhat.

    • Nola October 29, 2012 at 4:53 am #

      I checked that and it does say ACV…has there been an update on findings? I would really be leery of adding so much white vinegar. Is your white vinegar organic? I use the cheapest I can find for cleaning but what would you say for using it for food?

  2. Ashley August 17, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Lindsay,
    I have been making stock for awhile. I use it in soups and it’s no problem, but I just cannot stand the taste of it plain, even if I add salt and herbs. It just occurred to me as I was looking through your recipe again that I might be making it wrong. I usually cook a whole chicken in the crockpot, remove the meat, and then put the whole carcass (including skin) back into the crockpot w/veggies to simmer 24hrs. Should I only be putting the bones back in for stock??? Maybe that’s why it tastes so strange?

  3. Allegra March 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    My goal is to someday make my own chicken broth! It seems so hard but I gotta at least try it. Thank you for the info!!

    Thank you for your blog in general. Inspires me to be a better wife and mom :)

  4. RG September 18, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    Do you have a recipe for homemade beef powdered bouillon? Or Powdered mixes like homemade instant vanilla pudding powder, etc?

  5. Rebecca @ A Daily Dose of Grace July 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    This post is beyond helpful – thanks so much! It is a regular recipe for us now. I’ve featured it on our site’s “In the Kitchen” page.

  6. Ashley February 23, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Is this really right? cook for 12 -24 hours? I am trying this recipe and hoping it will be more flavorful then others I have tried. The vinegar addition is interesting. Lindsay…You don’t add any salt? Thanks!

    • Lindsay February 23, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      For the stock, yes, you cook on low for 12-24 hours for the most nutritious and flavorful broth.

  7. Lindsey January 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    Okay, so I’ve looked everywhere. Do you have a recipe for chicken noodle soup? I know, it should probably be brainless, but I’ve never made it before. I’m starting with the stock from the whole chicken.

    • Lindsay January 9, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

      No, I haven’t made that from scratch. I mainly stick to chicken vegetable soups to get the most veggies in there.

    • Allison February 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

      I have learned that soup is one of the most versatile dishes. For chicken noodle depending on your family’s preferences I would use:
      1 onion
      4 stalks of celery
      4 carrots
      Chicken
      and of course noodles (pretty much any kind) a couple handfuls
      boil veggies for about 15 mins then add noodles until they are cooked.
      At the end you can add green onions for a little extra colour and flavour.
      Have fun!

  8. Jill December 1, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    When you roast the chicken, is it UNcovered the whole baking time? I’m just double-checking. I’ve never roasted a chicken before.

    • Lindsay December 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

      Yes. But you can certainly cover it for part of the time if desired. If your oven cooks faster or it is getting browned too quickly. I’ve done it both ways.

  9. Carolin November 28, 2010 at 3:15 am #

    I can get 4 meals out of a chicken to, but I pull of the breasts first, after it is cooked, and put the rest away.If I don’t, they will eat the whole thing in one meal. I make alot of side dishes with veg,so they don’t miss the extra meat so much.

  10. Erika November 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    I’m obviously WAY behind on my blog reading, but I LOVE this post. It is so helpful for someone like me who is totally challenged in the kitchen! I have been trying to be better, but the planning, how-tos, cost, etc. of it all is a bit overwhelming!

    I LOVE how you gave clear and thorough suggestions to stretch the meat into additional meals, and even stating that you buy 12 chickens, one per month … made it seem so much more “doable” and affordable for me. THANK YOU!

    Excited to try it out!

  11. melissa p. November 16, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    help! i roasted the chicken last night: delicious!
    i picked the meat off and measured…good to go.
    i added the bones, 12 c. water and 1/2 c apple cider vinegar (i didn’t have white).
    the smell is KILLING me…uck! will this go away as it simmers? it’s only been simmering for 3 1/2 hours. hoping….i want yummy stock…not stinky! i hope i didn’t mess up using the apple cider vinegar!

    • Lindsay November 16, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

      I would imagine the smell is due to the ACV. I am sure it will be perfectly fine to eat, but the taste may or may not be affected.

      • melissa p. November 17, 2010 at 6:05 am #

        thank you! it has simmered now for almost 24 hours, and looks amazing! the smell did go away, for the most part. (my 8 year old’s sensitive sniffer disagrees!) i think once i make it into my soup, it will be great! sorry for the freak out! i’m new to this! :) thanks for your help!

  12. Jackie@Lilolu November 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Yum, that looks great! I have a similar baked chicken recipe you may like. It’s VERY tasty, I hope you try it.

    1 lemon halved (squeeze over chicken then place it inside chicken)
    1 onion (quartered, place inside chicken)
    2 garlic cloves halved (rub on chicken, place inside chicken)

    olive oil, butter or coconut oil
    thyme
    rosemary
    sage
    tarragon
    salt
    pepper

    bake as usual

    Jackie :)

  13. kim November 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Hey Lindsay I didn’t notice if you already answered this question but I’m wondering exactly where you buy your chickens and if you know if they give them any supplemental feed?
    thanks Kim

  14. Hannah November 12, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Thanks for the ideas! Roasted one for dinner last night and the butter is an amazing addition!!

    What is the difference in cooking stock on the stove instead of a crock pot? I went to a Sally Fallon seminar this spring and I know she mentioned why it was better but I can’t remember. Just wondering! I make mine on the stove but it always makes me nervous living in an apartment to leave it on all night. Thanks!!

    • Lindsay November 12, 2010 at 10:23 am #

      Well, for one thing…you can make a lot more chicken stock in a large pot than a crockpot. I found in the crockpot the stock evaporated far more significantly, leaving me with less stock. Also, there is a concern with lead in crockpots when used over a long period of time. I believe it is longer than 8 hours that lead can leach into your food. You can start stock in the morning and just let it run until you go to bed. It is not necessary to let it cook overnight if it makes you uncomfortable.

      • Mia November 13, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

        AAAAAGGH! I didn’t know that! I routinely leave my crockpot on for 24 hours for Sabbath meals and stock. Off to research …

        • Krissy November 13, 2010 at 10:27 pm #

          I recently bought a Rival 7 quart crock pot from Wal-mart for $18 (Model #MD-TH7000G in a green color). I first tested it with test strips from Lead Check. It tested negative for lead. Then to test it for leaching I “cooked” water for well over 24 hours, probably more like a day and a half. I then tested this water with a local Minnesota laboratory that is state approved to provide water/lead analysis. This also came back safe with less than 1.0 ug/L detected. Just for further information. A few months earlier I had checked our water from a couple faucets in our house. One in one of our bathrooms and the other the spigot for our reverse osmosis water in our kitchen. The bathroom tested postive at 9.0 ug/L, the r/o unit water tested at less than 1.0 ug/L. I did that testing because I had spoke with a “green” building expert in Nebraska that informed me that nationwide they are running in to problems with mainly replacement spigots for r/o units. He said most of the original spigots that come with the units are usually ok. He said that a high amount of the replacement spigots (usually changed to match kitchen decor), were testing with high amounts of lead (way over the allowable amounts). Fortunately ours was safe, as it was a replacement spigot. You want to make sure you know what your water your using is testing at, as this could effect your crock pot testing results. It cost $26 per test to have the water samples tested. Also Xtrema will be coming out with a crock pot in 2011, originally it was to come out this fall…I contacted them recently and it has been delayed. Mine had broken a couple years back and I just decided to buy one and test it out.

  15. amanda November 11, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    How funny I just posted something similar on my blog about stretching your food budget by cooking a chicken and making broth. Great minds must think a lot! :) My family and I are really enjoying cooking some of your recipes. We have really enjoyed your Lentil and Rice Casserole and Lentil Soup. We are hoping to see some more lentil recipes soon!

  16. Amy November 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    How do you find a local farm source for chickens (in fact…all meat)?

    • Lindsay November 12, 2010 at 6:15 am #

      Eat Wild, Local Harvest, and simply asking around. Check out your local farmers market, talking to vendors, local health food stores talking to the meat department, etc.

  17. Susie November 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Great post!

    I just have a comment on the white vinegar. Be sure you read the ingredients. I was shocked to discover that apparently all white vinegar is not created equal these days! As far as I know, only Heinz white vinegar is still making its vinegar from fermented grains and NOT made from a petroleum derivative as many today are.

    • Lindsay November 12, 2010 at 6:15 am #

      Wow! Good to know!

    • Jen November 13, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

      This is why I always use organic apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar now. My stocks and broths always turn out delicious, and no petroleum added!

  18. Courtney November 11, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    This is my favorite meal for this exact reason- I sell weekly recipes on my blog and teach cooking classes for moms… and I always try to highlight and impress upon moms the ease and versatility of the whole chicken while still be delicious. And the price point for as many meals as you get out of it is without complaint!!

  19. Allyson November 11, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Loved reading all of your ideas. Do you just eat chicken one week out of the month or do you freeze these meals and have about one each week?

    • Lindsay November 12, 2010 at 6:16 am #

      We usually have most of the chicken in one week, but I do usually freeze one of the casseroles – the chicken and dumplings, or freeze the additional two cups of meat and make chicken curry later on in the month.

  20. Joanna November 11, 2010 at 9:06 am #

    I LOVE this post! Thank you so much for sharing! This is exactly how I cook too, well with the exception of the curry. :-) I usually sneak in enchiladas or chicken taco salad.

  21. Rhiannon November 11, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    This was the best explanation of how to wisely use organic chicken to its fullest potential.

    I’ve wanted to buy organic meat but honestly the chicken has been the biggest issue for me. I use a lot of chicken breasts which is too pricey for me to switch over to, but this plan makes buying organic more feasible.

    Thank you!

  22. Naomi November 11, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    How many pounds or kilos are the chickens that you get?

    • Lindsay November 11, 2010 at 10:32 am #

      4-6 pounds.

      • Eleni L. November 11, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

        We have been cooking pastured chickens like this for years now. I am amazed though as I read through all these recipes how much –seemingly endless– amount of meat can come off of one bird, even after the initial meal for the family of four you discuss above. Those must be some jumbo-sized chickens (or perhaps you are using super small, less than 2 oz., portions of the chicken per person per meal which is yielded from the one bird?) I try to cook one bird per week for my family of 5 and make several different dishes from the one chicken. I always end up with a wonderful stock in the end, but I couldn’t imagine stretching so much that I could realistically only use 12 chickens per year.

        • Nola October 29, 2012 at 4:35 am #

          Just a comment from another reader…I think food really depends on how old/how big of eaters you have in your family. I have a very active husband and 2 big eaters for children (they seem to eat like adults) and everyone is good healthy weights. I usually buy 5 pound chickens and get about 3-4 meals off of them, plus stock and then some extra meat off that stock (1-2 cups) to use for sandwhiches or soup. I usually put 3 cups of meat in each dish I am making. Sometimes only 2 cups but then its fairly skimpy. I usually use 2 chickens per month.

  23. katie November 10, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    i was just wondering how you keep your chicken from splattering butter/oil (i’ve used both) all over the inside of your oven. every time i roast a chicken, i feel like i’m in a smoking lounge! yuck. any ideas?

    • Lindsay November 11, 2010 at 10:23 am #

      Is your dish deep enough? I haven’t really experienced this issue. Maybe you should keep it covered and just remove the lid for the last 10-15 minutes so it can brown nicely on each side.

  24. Carter @ The Kitchenette November 10, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    What size chicken are you using? You say “large” but the largest I can usually get at the store is a 3-4 pound chicken, and I can usually only get 3-4 cups of chicken from a chicken that big. I might have to try this just to see what I can get from a chicken we have here.

    Oh, and since there is so much talk of prices, I’m in Denver and I pay about $1.50/LB at the supermarket and about $3 per pound at the farmer’s market (which I like better, the chicken is fresher and better taken care of during life).

  25. Melissa November 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    You sure get a better price for chicken, as we have to pay $4.50/lb. in our Texas town. We only have one a month since it’s so pricey.

    • Lindsay November 11, 2010 at 10:24 am #

      Yes, but I drive an hour away to get it. Sometimes the best prices are a bit of a drive away from the city.

      • Danielle B November 14, 2010 at 3:23 am #

        But you also spend money in gas to get there. Is it that much more in the city?

  26. Jenna November 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    Lindsay,
    First I love love love your blog and send it to people all the time. :) I particularly loved your post on Elderberry Syrup and have been making it at my house so thank you!

    I had a tip on your chicken broth to make it even easier for you. Whe I make mine, Instead of putting the chicken bones and carcass in the water and the vegetables too…I instead cut up a whole raw chicken (raw is supposed to be even more nourishing…not sure how but my friend told me this…it is definitely even more flavorful) but anyway then I take the veggies and the liver and put most of them in the cavity of the chicken carcass and put it on a piece of cheese cloth and roll it up together and tie the ends of the cloth..making a “chicken tea bag” basically. Then put it in the pot and add the water. I don’t simmer mine as long as you do but I will try that next time. Either way…when you are done all you have to do is lift out the “chicken tea bag” at the end and unroll it and take out your veggies if you want to use them. What this does is eliminate having to use another pot to drain and fish out all the bones etc. :)
    Once again thanks so much for your tips I refer to your blog a lot. You got me to add kefir to our morning smoothies too!

  27. Becky November 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm #

    I am impressed that you can feed 4 people of 6 pounds of chicken for 4 meals. 6 pounds of chicken for us (7 people) makes 1 meal and 1 leftover sandwich or salad! Just wait until you have 2 teens! They can pack away the food!

    • Amanda December 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

      She does have 2 small children!

      For us (2 adults, a 10yo, 8yo, 6yo, 4yo and baby that is still solely nursing) – one chicken lasts 2 meals.

      We do not use tiny amounts like in her picture though. My husband and I are both meat-eaters, and while we both LOVE vegetables, we seem to function better, and feel full longer on more protein. I will probably have to be making 2 chickens by the time all the kids are teens. YIKES!!!!

  28. Elizabeth November 10, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    Your blog is by far my favorite blog. Sometimes you blog about the exact same thing I am thinking about writing about that day! Thank you for your hard work and dedication! I have just started blogging and I know how much of a commitment it is and a passion to help others to be healthier. Look forward to all your posts! God will bless you and your ministry.

  29. Robin November 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Wow! You really make them stretch! I’m feeding half as many people as you but eating twice as much chicken! Working on doing meals where meat isn’t the star ingredient but my husband was raised with the idea that a meal means meat-and-two-veggies. :-)

    • Lindsay November 11, 2010 at 10:28 am #

      Yes, I noticed a lot of people sharing that their chickens don’t go as far as mine. I really do cut back on how much meat we use in each meal to make it stretch. I could use more meat, but make it stretch by using more vegetables so that it lasts longer.

  30. Sarah November 10, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    Thanks for sharing! The farmer I buy pastured beef from also has chickens but they are much more expensive than what you are paying. I will have to keep shopping. When I was a teen I worked exactly 1 day at an egg laying house. Honestly one of the saddest days I have seen.

    • Jessica November 22, 2010 at 11:54 am #

      Why just one day?!

  31. Jill November 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    Thanks for this helpful post! I was wondering why you use white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? Does it matter?

    And, when using the peels of carrots, potatoes, onions, etc. for the stock, obviously organic is best, but if the vegetables aren’t organic, should I NOT use the peels then?

    And, for roasting the chicken, I have these black roasters with speckles on them – do you know what they’re made of? I’ve had them so long and have never used them, but I want to roast a whole chicken so now I need them, but have no idea what material they’re made of. Any help would be great! Thanks!

    • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

      I use white vinegar on Sally Fallon’s in Nourishing Traditions recommendation. I rinse them really well and still use them even if they are not organic. Most of the produce we get is not sprayed but not organic either. Root vegetables are a bit safer on that side too. Its the thin skinned produce that you want to concern yourself with. Are you referring to a roasting pan? It’s really hard to say. You could try to contact the manufacturer. I use an enameled french oven and it works beautifully.

      • Jill November 10, 2010 at 2:16 pm #

        For the pan, it’s a roaster pan for in the oven – it’s somewhat thin – not a nice thick roaster pan like the one you have. There is no manufacturer label on it, so I have no idea what it is made of. It’s just stamped USA on the lid. I just wanted to make sure it was a safe pan to use before I go ahead and start roasting chickens and other meat in it.

        For my vegetables, I just buy whatever is at the grocery store. It’s not organic and I have no idea of how it’s grown. Should I skip using the skins? Or just rinse them really well like you suggested.

        • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

          I would imagine the pan is safe unless you can see that it is coated and peeling. That would be the concern. As to the vegetables, it is up to you. I would probably still use them myself but just wash them thoroughly. But if you want to play it on the safe side, just use the whole vegetable and discard the peels.

  32. Shauna November 10, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Do you buy all your chickens at one time and then keep them in a deep freeze? just wondering if they will last that long or get freezer burn? I am excited to try this and just found a farm to get chickens from I think the price is 15 dollars a chicken do you mind me asking what you pay?

    • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

      Yes, I buy them all at once every June. They last for the whole year in my deep freezer. I pay about $2.75 per pound, which makes out to be about $14-16 dollars per chicken.

      • Danielle B November 11, 2010 at 7:19 am #

        Good price! Our large chickens are $3.50/lb.

        • Amanda December 14, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

          The ones I just bought (from Azure) were 4.50 a pound. I want 2.75/pound!!!

          • Nola October 29, 2012 at 4:39 am #

            Me too :( Food prices REALLY vary according to where a person lives, even if you do all the hunting for good prices you can possibly do.

  33. Randi November 10, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Another great way to cook your chicken the first time is in a crock pot. It’s so yummy! I buy fresh herbs and a whole chicken from our local organic/natural delivery service, Green B.E.A.N.,(they deliver to Indiana and Ohio) every Friday, put it in the crock pot on Saturday, and let it cook all day. It gets a nice crisp skin and makes me think of rotisserie chickens from the store. We then do the same as you, pick off the leftovers and boil bones for stock. We can usually have three meals from it and we are a family of 4 as well. I do, however, have two little boys that eat like teenagers.

    • Krissy November 10, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

      Do you put any liquid into the crock pot? I thought you had to, but unsure if it would crisp like you wrote about.
      Thanks!

      • Randi December 5, 2010 at 1:50 am #

        Sorry for the late response, Krissy. I didn’t get an email saying someone replied! No, you do not need to put any liquid in because as it cooks it creates juices. These are excellent to make stock with!

  34. Amber November 10, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks for the recipes! I just cooked my first whole chicken last month and we got 4 meals from it! Cooking another one today…it’s a bit smaller so we’ll see how much we get from it. We have a family of 5. This is such an awesome way to do chicken though! Wish I had started with whole chickens sooner! Saves time and money. :)

  35. Julie A. November 10, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    I just cooked my first chicken over a month ago and it has lasted me this far (I’m single, so I can stretch it a little more). The broth is the best. I have made three (giant) batches of chicken noodle soup, which is a lot more like vegetable soup because I put so many veggies in it. I do wish I had this post a month ago for those other recipes, but I can buy more chickens :)

  36. Julianne November 10, 2010 at 9:25 am #

    Wondering what dutch oven you use? Do you like it?

    • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

      I use an enameled Le Creuset french oven and absolutely love it! I found it used on ebay and cannot sing its praises enough. I love how I can use it on the stove top and in the oven for multiple recipes. I use it in replacement of my crockpot the majority of the time now.

      • Katie November 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

        I love cast iron enamel french ovens! Right now I have a Cuissanart, I hope to get a Le Creuset someday, I guess I’m going to look on ebay!

  37. Jennifer November 10, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    I’m so happy to see your chicken & dumplings recipe! I’ve been looking for one just like that where the dumplings are soaked – thanks!

  38. Elizabeth November 10, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    What strange timing! I just bought my first whole chicken yesterday and am planning to roast it today. I was needing some motivation. My mom always bought frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breast. Raw meat (especially whole chickens) is new for me! This was just the encouragement I needed! Thanks!

  39. Bethany Hudson November 10, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    Lindsay, I giggled when I read this because we do EXACTLY the same for our family of 4! (Only we just buy some organic WA-raised chickens from COSTCO–it’s nice being near the flagship store; they have so many organic and whole food products!).

    • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

      Just keep in mind that organic chickens do not mean they are free range/pastured. They can make them organic by simply feeding organically and still have them completed penned up.

  40. Michele @ Frugal Granola November 10, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    I love seeing how long I can make a chicken stretch! :) Here is my post from this past summer on the ways I stretch a chicken: http://frugalgranola.com/2010/06/a-frugal-chicken/. :)

    Blessings,
    Michele

    • Jill November 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

      Michele,
      I also read your post about how you use a whole chicken, and do you really get a whole second batch of chicken stock just from the neck and liver of one chicken? That’s all you use – no additional bones or anything besides vegetables & herbs? I’m really new at this, and I just want to make sure I’m understanding this right. I don’t even know what the ‘”stuff” really is that I take out of the inside of my chicken…but I’m learning…

  41. Maria November 10, 2010 at 7:41 am #

    Thanks so much! This is perfect timing for me! I’ve just ordered our first side of beef and am waiting for the butcher to call that it is ready. When I pick that up, I found someone selling chickens so I’ll be meeting them as well to buy some. To be honest, I’ve never cooked a whole chicken before. Meat with bones has always grossed me out. But after watching Food, Inc. the thought of how Tyson and such raise the animals we eat, is WAY worse, and does not show respect for God’s creatures. Thanks again!

  42. Kelly November 10, 2010 at 6:17 am #

    thanks for the tips! what do you use for your chicken broth/stock in other meals/soups. Do you buy an certain brand?

    • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      This usually covers most of my bases. For other meals I will use beef stock from my collection of beef bones in the freezer. If I do need extra, I will buy Trader Joe’s organic broth. Pacific Foods is another good brand, which is available at most supermarkets or health food stores.

  43. Sheri November 10, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    I usually have a 3-4 pound chicken and have a hard time making it stretch. We eat most of the meat in the first meal, but I will then make broth in the crock pot and I use that for a long time. I need to start getting larger chickens :) If you don’t mind me asking, how much do you pay for your chickens? It is nice to have an idea of a “target” price. Thanks!

    • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      I pay about $2.75 per pound, which makes them about $14-16 per chicken.

  44. Church Mouse November 10, 2010 at 6:08 am #

    I just did a similar post a couple of weeks ago about my “system” for using whole chickens. I also like to make homemade cream of chicken with it for casseroles and soups and included the recipe here:
    http://churchmouseathome.blogspot.com/2010/10/shredded-chicken-meat-stock-cream-of.html

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I’m going to take a look at your chicken curry recipe! My husband would love something like that!

  45. Cath November 10, 2010 at 5:49 am #

    I have a similar routine. I can only get medium size birds but can get two meals for five people, stock for soup and sandwiches. I would much rather have a medium organic/free range bird than a large battery farm hen.

    I often by organic (uk standard) chicken portions (leg and thigh) for reaonable price to make things with too. I just pop them into my Pampered Chef rectangular baker with a little filtered water, seasoning and less than a teaspoon of rapadura, cover with foil or my flat stone and steam in the oven when cooking a casserole in the oven. Then I take them meat off the bone and chop up to make what ever the next day. The bones go into the freezer for the next stock that i make with a whole carcass,

    Cath

  46. Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama November 10, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    This is wonderful! I love your tips for preparing two meals at once, or at least getting the prep work done for another meal while working on something else. Great tips for busy moms! :-)

  47. Rebekah Randolph November 10, 2010 at 5:15 am #

    Your chicken stretches a bit further than mine. There are only two of us, but I have a feeling that my husband (who is very tall and perpetually hungry, and who does manual labor all day) eats more chicken than most people. haha :o )

    Even so, I am always so happy with how far a whole chicken goes! My routine is similar to yours. I roast it one day, often in the crockpot; use the bones for broth; make sandwiches another day; and finally make a meal out of any leftovers. Curry, fajitas, chicken and biscuits, etc. On average, I roast a chicken every two weeks.

  48. Megan November 10, 2010 at 5:04 am #

    Absolutely awesome ideas for how to stretch a whole chicken! I’ve always liked to do this but up until now I’ve had limited ideas. I love the tips on making stock, and making two dishes at once. Thanks so much! <3

  49. Shannon Hazleton November 10, 2010 at 4:59 am #

    Spending the extra on a good chicken is completely worth it to me! Just this week, I slow-cooked a chicken on Monday, and removed all meat from the bone. That shredded meat provided enough to feed my family a yummy brothy chicken and vegetables over rice for supper, and then again for lunch the next day. Plus, we packaged up half of that meal and took to a family who just had a baby. And I still have enough chicken left to make a skillet meal or a chicken salad meal. Or chicken noodle soup. AND, Monday night, I placed all the chicken bones in the crockpot and made nutritious chicken broth to use in soups and other recipes in the future.

    You just can’t beat it! ;)

    • Shannon Hazleton November 10, 2010 at 5:04 am #

      Oh, I also wanted to add that we are able to get a lower price on our chicken by buying frozen. They place where we purchase much of our whole foods discounts the chicken once they go to the freezer. We also save by buying leg quarters + breast quarters, which is less expensive than buying the chicken whole, but gives us the same amount of meat for a lower price. So for anyone who is concerned that you can’t afford good, pastured chickens, take heart – you may find a way to spend less without giving up the quality and nutrition!

  50. Julie November 10, 2010 at 4:54 am #

    How many pounds is a large chicken?

    • Lindsay November 10, 2010 at 5:28 am #

      My chickens are roughly 5-6 pounds, so they are on the larger size.

      • Christy November 10, 2010 at 8:39 am #

        That explains how it stretches so far. Our chickens are probably only 3 lbs each. I also have a teenage son, so 2 meals is the max for us.

    • Jen November 10, 2010 at 6:05 am #

      thanks, I was wondering this too :-)
      I roast a chicken every so often as well, but I can’t ever get more then 2 meals out of all the meat plus making broth with the bones!
      Can’t wait to try that curry chicken recipe – I made another version of curry chicken last week and we all loved it. This one looks really yummy too!